Just minutes from Burlington International Airport, there is an 18-acre resort nestled at the foot of the Green Mountains within Lake Champlain Valley. Tourists from New York, Boston and other East Coast cities visit The Essex Resort and Spa to enjoy great food, relax, take amazing cooking classes, and participate in fun events.

Equipped with large facilities and luxurious amenities, The Essex Culinary Resort and Spa has a full-service spa, an 18-hole golf course, a fitness center, tours, and a host of other memorable activities. The surroundings alone are a sight to behold. Beyond the on-site tennis courts where people can play are the bicycle and walking paths as well as the eco-friendly vegetable gardens.

1.The Essex Rooms and Suites

The Essex Rooms and Suites  

The Essex Resort and Spa offers stylish and comfortable accommodations through its 120 guest rooms and suites designed with relaxation and comfort in mind. The accommodations are where the distinctive and inviting character of the resort is first experienced.

There are many types of guest rooms to choose from. The Traditional Rooms are intimate, 375 sq. ft. guest rooms with either a king or queen-sized bed, a flat screen TV, and a coffee maker. They can either have a fireplace or not. The Studio Rooms are 350 sq. ft., featuring a kitchenette that comes complete with a microwave, stove-top, refrigerator, and dishwasher. Designed for extended stay, the Suites are well-appointed accommodations with a separate bedroom, living room, kitchen, and dining area, along with a host of luxurious amenities for a more comfortable stay. There is a diverse selection of suites to choose from.

The resort offers a special discount of $20 to guests who choose to book with them through their website. There are also special arrangements for pet-friendly accommodations for guests who want to bring their pets with them. For golfers, there are some pretty good executive golf packages as well.

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2.The Spa

The Spa  

The Essex spa offers guests their own recipe for relaxation with the right selection of services, comfortable facilities, and an inviting environment. Not only is it the largest spa within Chittenden and Burlington, but it’s also the only full service freestanding spa in the area. With access to the steam and sauna rooms, hot tubs, and relaxation lounges, those who want to make the most of the experience are encouraged to show up early. The spa facilities open as early as 8:00 a.m.

There are a wide range of services offered at the spa:

  • Massages – Deep Tissue, Warm Stone, The Eastern Hand, Prenatal, Peppermint Leg and Foot Ritual, Sports Specific, Reiki Balancing Therapy, and the Essex Custom.
  • Body Treatments – Wind Down, Body Brew Experience, Honey Lavender Escape, and Coffee Almond Detox.
  • Salon Services – Manicure, Pedicure, Hair Styling and Coloring, Makeup, and Waxing.
  • Facial Treatments – Essential Skin Ritual, HSR Age Defying, Back to Nature, Gentleman’s Facial, Orange and Sweet Calendula Cream, Clarifying Enzyme, Sweet Milk and Lavender Buds, and The Express.

All services are handled by discerning spa staff and professionals that are trained to make sure every visit to the spa is a comfortable one.

Part of the wellness facilities of the resort are the fitness center and pools. The Fitness Center has a complete set of cardio and strength training equipment supplied by no less than Technogym – a leader in the fitness industry, supplying equipment to various Olympic Games. It’s also one of the few gyms in the world that has the unique free-weight system by Precision Athletics.

The spa also has a 25-yard lap pool that’s temperature controlled for a great work out or cool down. The outdoor pool and waterfall, on the other hand, feels like an oasis for those hot summer days that just call for relaxation with an afternoon snack. Another way to wind down is with the spa’s oversized hot tub.

Finally, the spa offers fitness classes and Aqua Aerobics on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at 11:00 a.m.

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3.Dining & Cooking Classes

Dining & Cooking Classes  

Essex Resorts and Spa is also home to the Vermont Culinary Resort which proudly presents two famous restaurants for their guests, namely the Junction and the Tavern, as well as a wide selection of hands-on cooking classes with the Cook Academy.

With unique décor, the scent and sounds coming from the restaurant’s open kitchen and the rich flavor and texture of the items in its menu, The Junction is quite the foodie’s haven. The menus are always different because they use only seasonal and locally available ingredients to make sure that everything is served fresh. Every menu is divided into a selection of tasting plates, small plates and large plates, with each selection briefly but richly explaining the dish. The menu also comes with a selection of local cheeses.

For a traditional pub fare, guests can visit The Tavern, where its items are inspired by only locally available ingredients, with most coming from the resort’s own organic gardens. On top of the superb meals are picks from their award winning list of wine and extensive selection of specialty cocktails and Vermont microbrews. The Tavern offers three elaborate menus for breakfast, brunch and lunch and dinner, properly identifying the vegan and gluten free items to cater to guests with special dietary needs. Every menu also offers a variety of beverages to choose from.

Finally, the Essex Resort & Spa features the renowned Cook Academy, the place for guests who want to learn the basics of or enhance their skills in the culinary arts. The on-site programs will give participants the chance to work with and learn from famous chefs within a fun and intimate learning kitchen environment.

To help guests find the classes that they want, the Cook Academy presents an online calendar that applicants can browse through. There, they will find days of the week stamped with images of the dishes that will be prepared as well as the number of openings available per session. This is also where they can reserve classes to easily secure their place among the limited slots.

The Cook Academy offers varying class types:

Supper Series or World Cuisine Classes are 2.5 to 3-hour night classes where participants will not only learn to prepare up to four course meals but learn how to create a unique dining experience as well. Here, guests will be encouraged to do their best work because they will be able to enjoy the fruits of their labor at the end.

Semi-hands-on classes involve 2 hours of limited hands-on participation. This means that the participant will get to take part in preparing two to three parts of the cooking process as well as taste a generous amount of the food prepared.

Technique classes focus on honing specific cooking skills.

Demonstration classes are for those who want to learn through observation.

Tasting sessions give guests a chance to taste the food they watched being prepared.

Participants of the cooking class will also get a copy of the recipes that were used at the conclusion of the class.

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4.Weddings and Celebrations

Weddings and Celebrations  

Having more than 13,000 sq. ft. of beautiful space, The Essex Resort and Spa can host grand celebrations and weddings that hold up to 400 people. It unique location makes it a wonderful backdrop for weddings. Some of the venues include:

The Atrium, which is ideal for sunlit gatherings. The place overlooks the gardens by the east. This is where luncheons and rehearsal dinners are held, but it can be converted to the venue for the wedding ceremony as well.

The East Lawn, which has a beautiful garden that can easily be used as the venue for an outdoor wedding ceremony.

One of the three Salons, all of which are sunlit and can be separated or combined when necessary.

The Ballroom, which has been used for all kinds of large gatherings.

The Ponds at Bolton Valley.

With exclusive venues like the Ponds, top-notch accommodations, unmatched catering, lush spa facilities, and numerous resort activities, the entire wedding from beginning to the after party will definitely be a memorable experience.

However, the flexibility of the venues of Essex Resort and Spa means that they’re not limited to grand wedding celebrations. The same venues can also be used for family reunions, graduation parties, birthday parties, and other social or family gatherings.

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5.Meetings and Events

Meetings and Events  

Whether it’s for a corporate sales meeting, a company retreat, an intense brainstorming session, or a board meeting, Essex offers venues that are conducive for a wide variety of meetings and business gatherings. Here, guests are accommodated within luxurious ballrooms or small meeting areas where there’s enough audio and visual equipment to get the job done. Meanwhile, food is served from the resort’s restaurant to keep everyone’s strength up.

A venue worthy of mention is the Ponds at Bolton Valley. This exclusive venue from Essex is surrounded by 5,000 acres of the beautiful forests and mountains of Vermont. Every window gives panoramic views of the outside surroundings while the inside draws eyes to the river stone fireplace.

There are also a number of activities that can be added to the arranged meeting to serve as entertainment or leisure to hardworking participants. Before, after, or between the meeting sessions, guests can opt for cooking classes, yoga classes, bonfire sessions (evening), and many other fun activities that can double as a team building exercise for everyone.

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6.Things to Do

Things to Do  

There’s never a shortage of places to explore or new experiences at the Essex Resort and Spa. Whether guests prefer something relaxing or exciting, there’s just so many things to look forward to when they visit Vermont.

Take a walk, go on a hike, bike, and play. Kids will find a playground just across the resort. Meanwhile, the grownups can go walking, biking, or hiking along Mills Riverside Park, which is home to ramps, roads, and peaceful scenery. It’s perfect for families, couples, and even individuals with pets.

Sight seeing in Burlington. Guests don’t even have to go too far to find nearby attractions. Just 15 minutes away from the resort are the Downtown Area, Echo Leahy Center & Aquarium, Lake Champlain, and the Chocolate Factory. Guests can also sign up for guided tours of these places.

Just 30 minutes west of the resort are the Shelburne Museum and the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory – two very interesting destinations visitors shouldn’t miss. During winter, there are also opportunities to go dog sledding there.

Just 30 minutes east of the resort, guests can get souvenirs from artworks from food and spirits at the Vermont Annex, tour the Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream factory, and taste the creations of the Cold Hollow Cider Mill.

Vermont is a great tennis destination. Leading the Essex Resort and Spa Tennis program is Rob Barr, who runs a camp that’s been recognized as by Tennis Resorts Online as among the top 10 all over the world. Players of all levels of skill can find the right program to up their game, taking up either of the two or five night packages offered by the resort.

Next to the resort is the Links at Lang Farm, an 18-hole golf course that’s been around since July 2002. What makes the course famous is the fact that it’s been designed to cater to golfers of all experience levels. The 18-hole course, in fact, is the only one of its kind within New England. Over 450 golf tournaments have been hosted in this venue and it’s also been recognized as the best place to practice the sport as featured in the 2013 New England Gold Monthly.

Rates start at $149 per night

70 Essex Way, Essex Junction, VT 05452, Phone: 802-878-1100

Back to: 25 Best Weekend Getaways from New York City.

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Weekend Getaways from NYC: The Essex, Vermont's Culinary Resort and Spa